I'm obviously a big fan of the game, what with me having a lifetime subscription and all, and I do want to say that the work you guys are doing is quite awesome. I've seen the game improve quite a bit over the last year, oneof the great things about an MMO is that it's development is live, so there's always something to look forward to. I'm not one who normally rants, but this particular issue is kinda grinding me a bit.
My main gripe right now is the cutscenes. Don't get me wrong, I like them, but I feel that they're getting a bit excessive. This last one featured a cutscene for turrets shooting a worm for pete sake, these moments had to involve a cutscene?
Don't get me wrong though, the one at the end of the episode is nice. Take a moment to properly wrap up what just happened and give you a bit of an awesome feeling, but I'm noticing more and more that there are cutscenes for things that really aren't necessary.
Now, don't get me wrong, I totally know that your style of game making is totally different from other manufacturers, I remember reading one of the posts on here where one of the Devs essentially outlined how the current MMO vendors different, they mentioned that Cryptics main offering was how custimizeable the player appearances are. Which is cool, however I want to take a moment and point out another developer's stance on gameplay.
Valve, the developers behind one of the current best selling series on the PC. Creators of the Half-Life series, and Left 4 Dead games. One of their main things in developing games is to try and take as little control of the players actions as possible. They try not to drag a player's focus to a specific scene, but rather lead the player to it so that they can see it for themselves. Which is far more rewarding in my opinion.
Granted, there's still a fair amount of scripted actions taking place, the main take away is that they're scripted actions, not scripted scenes. Having me push anomolous material into chamber for analysis and then being teleported into another realm briefly where I have a decision and stand still spooked, or wandering around aimlessly before being teleported back is the player's choice. The alternative would've been to have the camera pull back and show the character push the anomolous material in, then watch the accident, get teleported, do whatever the story boards called for, then teleport back. In one version WE caused the accident, while in another we watched our character make an accident. Yes, the same goal is achieved, the difference is in playing a game vs. watching a TV show.
I'm playing this game to feel like I'm driving the episode, not watch it. I'll give you that an opening exposition is nice to set the overall mood for the story, and a final video summing things up is a nice reward, but any cut scenes in between seem somewhat unnecessary. Seems like the man power put into the scenes could be put to use having live observational moments, vs. "sit and watch" moments. That is to say, let me see the turret firing on the worm, and let me discover where it's coming from, don't take over my controls, pan out, and show me all of 10-20 seconds worth of pointless pew, pew, pew, only to give me back my controls and find out I'm sititng in a pool of aciding mucus from the worm.
These featured episodes aren't that long. I have 6 characters that I play them through, the first one typically takes about 30-45 minutes while I soak in the material, while the next 5 will take about 10-20 minutes while I run through it for the points and loot. Having my controls taken from me every other moment drives me nuts. I also don't know what happened between the second eipsode, and the 3rd and 4th ones, but not being able to skip the cutscenes and letting us just get on with it is not fun either. The 2nd one let's us skip if we hit the space bar. The 3rd and 4th ones force us to sit there and waste our time watching it, which is not all that cool.
So, to sum this up, keep up the good work. You guys are doing a bang up job on the visuals and such, but please cut back on the cut scenes, the rate you guys are throwing em' in there I feel like we'l be getting watcheable featured episodes instead of playable ones before too long.
Thanks for the fun year, looking forward to another.